Uber, the ride-hailing service announced Thursday that it has started testing a self-driving car from its Advanced Technologies Center (ATC) in Pittsburgh.
The car, a hybrid Ford Fusion, will be collecting mapping data as well as testing its self-driving capabilities, Uber said in a blog post. Someone will be keeping an eye on things, though because when it’s in self-driving mode, a trained driver will be in the driver’s seat monitoring operations. The Uber ATC car comes outfitted with a variety of sensors including radars, laser scanners, and high resolution cameras to map details of the environment.
Uber said real-world testing is critical to their efforts to develop self-driving technology. Self-driving cars have the potential to save millions of lives and improve quality of life for people around the world. 1.3 million people die every year in car accidents — 94% of those accidents involve human error, according to Uber.
The company believes this technology will mean less congestion, more affordable and accessible transportation, and far fewer lives lost in car accidents in the future. Uber said it chose Pittsburg because it is an ideal environment to develop and test their technology across a wide variety of road types, traffic patterns and weather conditions.